CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 16 min 33 sec ago

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

20 October 2014 - 9:34am
Contact them via email, so that you have a record.

I flew with a courier with max dimensions, on my final day of my tour I'd arranged to collect a cardboard bike box and then go direct to the nearby airport. It was gigantic! I had zero time and materials to reduce it's size, it was so big I had to go the airport basement and use an industrial scanner as it wouldn't fit through the standard baggage one, no extra charge was levied,

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

20 October 2014 - 9:09am
elioelio wrote:Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?

If I was doing this trip I would purchase a cheap (Poundland) Hi Vis vest.

If using drop bars, then I would drill a 5mm hole 10mm from the very end of the bars on both sides. I would then bolt a short length of old handle bars at right angles and under the handle bars. A light can be attached to this on either side of the bike (as the side of the road being ridden on changes).

If using straight bars I would drill the same hole but add the tube under and in line with the bars.

I would also try and use the same batteries for all lights. I do like the Head Torch as you are able to flash (not dazzle) other vehicles.

Re: Touring Map(s) Hebrides & West Coast

20 October 2014 - 9:06am
OS 1:250,000 UK road maps are available free in digital form from a number of sources.

Check out Mapyx Quo.http://www.mapyx.com/index.asp

1:250K is more than adequate for Hebrides and West Coast of Scotland and you can purchase additional larger scale maps as and when you need them. The free software allows you to print A4 copies for your own use which are ideal in bar bag map cases.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

20 October 2014 - 9:04am
Parts of NZ are like parts of here: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes for some other.... take waterproofs and sunblock.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

20 October 2014 - 8:32am
Don't worry mate, it'll be raining all the time in NZ, so its the colour of your rain top that is important. Cue another 5 pages!!

Good as gold.

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

20 October 2014 - 8:24am
Who are Tranacontinel Airlines???

If you mean Delta Airways longhaul, then you may have a problem as US airlines tend to be very bike unfriendly.

If going to NZ, I would recommend Emirates, Air NZ or BA. I always fly Emirates as you get 30kgs and a bike in a box is no problem.

Hopefully you haven't bought your ticket purely on price, cos Delta may well sting you mega bucks for each leg.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

20 October 2014 - 7:50am
elioelio wrote:Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?Remove the bar bag and sling it over your saddle bag by its shoulder strap and secure with a bungee or similar if need be. Your bars are then free for the light. I seldom need a light when on tour, if I do it is usually only for a few miles, so this works for me even if it is a little inconvenient.

Alternatively - mount your bar bag lower by putting it on something like this
http://www.freshtripe.co.uk/freshtripe/ ... Rack-1.jpg

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

20 October 2014 - 7:15am
elioelio wrote: so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....?

As I attempted to explain in my post, this is what I do and it works perfectly well. And it means that I don't need to carry a front light that I would have used for a total of about 20 minutes on a 2 month tour of Europe last summer.

Re: Advice for tyre size for touring - 32c OK for off-road?

20 October 2014 - 6:21am
On road speed depends more on tyre construction than tyre width so I wouldn't worry about the difference between 32mm and 37mm. For off road wider is better than narrower. I'd suggest starting a long tour with two new tyres. Yes you can buy them on the road but they are likely to be full retail. I'd suggest two of these plus a 3rd as a spare. You may wear out the rear on a 6 month tour depending on roads and overall weight carried.

http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/TYVIVOHY/v ... lding-tyre

Re: Good footwear?

20 October 2014 - 6:17am
NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,
What size shoes do you need

Yes, I probably have left it too late for this trip but I might treat myself anyway.

I usually take a 9, but in some closer fitting shoes/trainers I take 9.5.

Re: Good footwear?

20 October 2014 - 12:30am
Hi,
What size shoes do you need

Re: Getting AROUND the Pyranees

20 October 2014 - 12:06am
Yep, St Jean pied de port onto the Roncevalles pass is very doable. My now husband did this as his first mountain with camping kit etc, he was convinced he wouldn't make it and could turn round and pick up the train at St Jean pied de port but he was fine. It's also a very historic route as part of the camino which should give an illustration of gradient. The main trick with a big pass is to head up at a sensible time in the morning. This avoids either the heat of the day or running so slow that you are late and so have problems with accomodation on the other side. Take plenty of short breaks if you need them and don't forget plenty of water and snacks.

Re: Good footwear?

20 October 2014 - 12:00am
I think the cheapest for the stelvio now is £67. A bit out of your price. Did you see if they still have stock at £59.99? I find the ones I have I can walk in them easy, probably the best shoes I have ever got. BUT they need to break in - not just the tops but the inner sole takes time to mould to your foot. The are a close fit. The left foot took more time than the right. In my case the shoe size is accurate. I think you have left it rather late to get a new pair of shoes.

I have used mine on some very rough hard stoned tracks with no problems. in fact the thick sole and inner sole puts to shame any light weight conventional shoe.

Re: Dry bags - a lightweight alternative to panniers

19 October 2014 - 11:19pm
bigjim wrote: I have toured a few times using a Carradice Overlander bag

The bag look nice but it's easy to strap any sort of bag to the top of a rack - you're not fighting gravity. I would run my setup with the roll-tops on the sides in addtion to a big one strapped to the top.

John-D wrote:I swapped my low-rider front rack and carradice front panniers for a home made rack (aluminium strip from B&Q) and halfords drybags. I've used it for a couple of tours and it works well.

That's a beautiful setup! You've got me jelous. Is squeezing the bags to the rack enough to keep them from wiggling downwards over the day?

Galloper wrote: On the subject of saving weight, I'm not sure that the difference in weight between drybags and panniers is significant, in the overall system. If you take the all up weight of rider, bike and luggage, the weight saved, as an overall percentage is quite low.

I disagree with this. Suppose you've gone to the supermarket with a friend. You are walking uphill with your shopping and say "mate, add this bottle of wine in your bag, would you?". Although that extra 1.5kg is a tiny proportion of combined body and shopping weight the extra increase does feel significant. It is wrong to treat weight increases in proportional terms. Understandably, tourers have a different set of preferences to racers but to throw all consideration of weight out of the window feels like a mistaken "all or nothing" mentality to me. If I can shave 1.5kg without serious disadvantages I'll take it. I could save a couple of hundred £ on cheaper, bulkier tent and sleeping bag instead of saving the weight if I fancied.

Advice for tyre size for touring - 32c OK for off-road?

19 October 2014 - 11:01pm
Hi there,
I'm off on a 6 month cycle tour really soon, through NZ and pacific coast highway in USA, so I will be doing some off-road cycling.

At the moment I have a 700x 35c back tyre - Specialised nimbus armadillo - which as supposed to be puncture resistant. The front wheel has a 700x 32c tyre. I was thinking of replacing the front tyre with a Schwalbe marathon tyre (or any puncture resistant tyre) as I really hate punctures (I can never get the tyre back on the wheel!). But not sure whether to get a 32c or a wider tyre?

I took my bike to Scotland recently and rode on some really bad 'roads' (paths) through the great glen way (even going 4 miles the wrong way up a path being built - lots of flint!). My bike handled fine but I was always worried I might get a puncture from the sharp stones.

So, if my bike handled fine on these pathways would it be recommended I stick with a 32c? As this would be better on roads. Or still go for a wider tyre? Does a wider tyre make it less likely to puncture? I can always put the 35c on the front wheel and get a 40c for the back. But only if this is needed - it will surely slow me down on normal roads?

Does anyone know if the Schwalbe marathon tyres are better than the specialised nimbus armadillos? Or can recommend any other makes (I am on a budget!)

Thanks for any info,
Ellen

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

19 October 2014 - 10:48pm
I can find excess weight rates, but not excess dimension rates.

Re: Touring Holland and Geramny

19 October 2014 - 10:46pm
There are countless options regarding routes Amsterdam to Szczecin, you don't say if there is anyting n particular you want to see along the way. I prefer coastal or canal side routes where I will see some shipping which might interest me, so here is a route I have taken in the past, starting at Central ralway station in Amsterdam. The ferry terminal is at the back of the station, board the free ferry to North Amsterdam and proceed to Volendam, and Den Oever where you cross the water on the Afsluitdijk towards Groningen. East of Groningen follow the canal by Hoogezand , Winschoten and cross the border into Gemany at Nieuweschans. On towards the river Ems and the bridge to Leer, Hesel, Varel to Nordenham for a ferry across the Weser to Bremerhaven. Then Bremervorde and on to Finkenwerder for ferry over the Elbe to Hamburg. From there I took a northern loop up to Rostock and Stralsund, but a more direct cross country route could have been taken.
If you look at the Crazy Guy on a Bike website you would probably get information for your route, http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/ , although I prefer to find my own route.
In the Netherlands, maps from the ANWB Fietskaart series are good for navigation, there are ANWB offices in most major towns in NL, certainly available in Amsterdam.
For Germany, there are Bikeline maps from Esterbauer.com, cycle maps from ADFC Radtourenkarte, also red covered road maps titled Die General Karte you might need 2 or 3 sheets, all readily available along the way. Szczecin is so close to the border I doubt you would need a Polish map, but a city map would be helpful.
I usually camp, but also use hostels and hotels, you should not have difficulty finding accommodation along the route, you're never far from a town or village.
If hostelling you could save a few Euros if you hold a Hostelling International card or the card of an affiliated association.

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

19 October 2014 - 10:42pm
Whilst planning a trip to Italy recently, I managed to obtain this clarification from British Airways regarding the use of CTC type transit bike bags.

"Thank you for your email regarding travelling with your bike in a clear polythene bag when you fly with British Airways.
Our airport teams are hesitant about accepting bikes within these bags as they obviously offer very little in the way of protection for your bike frame and mechanics, plus they are much more difficult to be securely tagged and handled by the baggage teams.

Because of this you will be asked to sign a document to state that if any damage does occur to your bike whilst it is being handled/transported in one of these plastic bike bags, the damage will not be the responsibility of British Airways or its agents.

Therefore, if this would not be acceptable to you or your insurance provider, we would advise you to transport your bike in a more padded/sturdy covering.

I hope this information is useful."

Regards
Ramdas
British Airways

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

19 October 2014 - 10:35pm
elioelio wrote:Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?
My front bike light is mounted on what I think is called the fork crown: the front of the bolt that holds the mudguard on. It doesn't come off. I've also seen lights mounted on the front forks, sometimes removable ones.

Re: Getting AROUND the Pyranees

19 October 2014 - 10:30pm
I just did the route from St Jean de Pied to Burgette this week. Not bad at all. Max height 1050 metres and between 6 and 7% max climb rate. Comfortable. Pyrenees are not that tough if you take the low passes.

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